Lawyer, scholar and civil rights activist, Lani Guinier will be the featured speaker for Illinois State University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner. The first African-American woman tenured professor at Harvard Law School, Guinier has worked diligently on issues of social justice, voting rights and women in the law.

The dinner will be 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24, 2014, in the Brown Ballroom of the Bone Student Center. Reservations are required. Seats are $15 for students and $35 for non-students. Reservations can be made by calling 438-8790 or online at

The event is sponsored by Office of the President and the Illinois State University NAACP Student Chapter.

Currently the Bennett Boskey Professor of Law at Harvard, Guinier has been the counsel on record for numerous cases with the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Courts of Appeal and District Courts. She has testified several times before Congress on the Universal Voter Registration Act and on the creation of congressional and legislative districts.

Receiving her law degree from Yale University, Guinier has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Yale, Harvard and Columbia. She has honorary degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, Swarthmore College, Spelman College, Smith College and the University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign, among others.

Guinier worked in the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice and then headed the voting rights project at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in the 1980s. Her nomination by President Bill Clinton to head the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice was blocked without a hearing. That experience led Guinier to use her subsequent public platform to speak out on issues of race, gender and democratic decision-making and to call for candid public discourse on these issues. She is one of the nation’s most sought after speakers on these subjects and has appeared on Face the Nation, NPR’s Morning Edition, Good Morning America, The Today Show and the McNeil/Lehrer Hour.

She is the author of Lift Every Voice: Turning a Civil Rights Setback into a New Vision of Social Justice and The Tyranny of the Majority: Fundamental Fairness in Representative Democracy. She co-authored the books Who’s Qualified: A New Democracy Forum on Creating Equal Opportunity in School and Jobs; The Miner’s Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy as well as Becoming Gentlemen: Women, Law Schools and Institutional Change. Her research has appeared in scholarly journals such as Harvard Law Review, Journal of American History and the Review of Law & Social Change. Her editorials have been published extensively in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Nation and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Guinier was one of the principal investigators for RACETALKS, a learning community that generates discussion to address problems that create conflict while remaining involved in collaborative problem-solving. She has served as a fellow for the Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.

This year, Guinier was selected as the 2013 Black History Month honoree by the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education as one of 28 noteworthy African-Americans who have contributed to the “world of words.” She has also been honored by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the American Association of Affirmative Action, the National Women’s Political Caucus and the National Bar Association. In 2004, the Boston YWCA named Guinier the Woman of the Decade.

If you need special accommodations to fully participate in these programs/events, please contact Julie Barnhill, Presidential and Trustee Events, at 438-8790. Please allow sufficient time to arrange accommodations.